Danby Beacon round barrow


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018765

Date first listed: 09-Jan-1963

Date of most recent amendment: 21-Jan-1999


Ordnance survey map of Danby Beacon round barrow
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This copy shows the entry on 19-Jan-2019 at 10:38:48.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: North Yorkshire

District: Scarborough (District Authority)

Parish: Glaisdale


National Grid Reference: NZ 73614 09281


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Bowl barrows, the most numerous form of round barrow, are funerary monuments dating from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period 2400-1500 BC. They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. They occur either in isolation or grouped as cemeteries and often acted as a focus for burials in later periods. Often superficially similar, although differing widely in size, they exhibit regional variations in form and a diversity of burial practices. There are over 10,000 surviving bowl barrows recorded nationally (many more have already been destroyed), occurring across most of lowland Britain. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape and their considerable variation of form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisations amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

Danby beacon round barrow is an important example of the larger type of prominently located barrows. Excavations of round barrows in the region have shown that they demonstrate a very wide range of burial rites from simple scatters of cremated material to coffin inhumations and cremations contained in urns, typically dating to the Bronze Age. A common factor is that barrows were normally used for more than one burial and that the primary burial was frequently on or below the original ground surface, often with secondary burials located within the body of the mound. Most barrows include a small number of grave goods. These are often small pottery food vessels, but stone, bone, jet and bronze items have also occasionally been found. The barrow's importance is heightened by its use as the site of a beacon. These were fires deliberately lit to give early warning of the approach of hostile forces. They were always sited on prominent positions, usually as part of a group or chain which together made up a comprehensive early warning system covering most of the country. Beacons were extensively used during the medieval period. Their use was formalised by 1325 and although some were used later, for example at the time of Monmouth's Rebellion in 1685 or during the Napoleonic Wars, the system was in decay by the mid-17th century. Beacons were initially bonfires of wood or furze, but later barrels of pitch, or iron fire baskets mounted on poles were used, often set on top of earthen mounds. More unusual beacon types include purpose built towers and stone enclosures. Church towers were also sometimes employed. Beacons were built throughout England with approximately 500 recorded nationally. Few survive in the form of physical remains, with most known only from place-name evidence.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes the buried and earthwork remains of a prehistoric burial mound sited on the summit of Beacon Hill. The two mounds now standing within 50m to the east of the surviving round barrow are 20th century in origin and are not included the scheduling. The round barrow survives as a 22m diameter stone and earthen mound standing up to 2.5m high. On the southern side of the mound there are a number of exposed stones, some of which form a stone kerbing. The mound was reused from at least the early post-medieval period as the site of a beacon. At its summit there is a modern timber pole which has been used to support a beacon in 1988 as part of the 400th anniversary celebrations of the defeat of the Spanish Armada.

Excavation of other barrows has shown that even where no encircling depression is discernible on the modern ground surface, ditches immediately around the outside of barrows frequently survive as infilled features, containing additional archaeological deposits.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 30161

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing